Via a historical reconstruction, this paper primarily demonstrates how the societal debate on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) gradually extended in terms of actors involved and concerns reflected. It is argued that the implementation of recombinant DNA technology out of the laboratory and into civil society entailed a “complex of concerns.” In this complex, distinctions between environmental, agricultural, socio-economic, and ethical issues proved to be blurred. This fueled the confusion between the wider debate on genetic modification and the risk assessment of (...) transgenic crops in the European Union. In this paper, the lasting skeptical and/or ambivalent attitude of Europeans towards agro-food biotechnology is interpreted as signaling an ongoing social request – and even a quest – for an evaluation of biotechnology with Sense and Sensibility. In this (re)quest, a broader-than-scientific dimension is sought for that allows addressing the GMO debate in a more “sensible” way, whilst making “sense” of the different stances taken in it. Here, the restyling of the European regulatory frame on transgenic agro-food products and of science communication models are discussed and taken to be indicative of the (re)quest to move from a merely scientific evaluation and risk-based policy towards a socially more robust evaluation that takes the “non-scientific” concerns at stake in the GMO debate seriously. (shrink)
I am grateful to Dirk Moses for taking the time to study my work so assiduously and to comment on it so perspicuously. His essay is eminently well-informed and even-handed, and I have little to add to or correct of his characterization of my many, long on-going, and admittedly flawed attempts to deconstruct modern historical discourse. He understands me well enough and I think that I understand his objections to my position. We do not disagree on matters of fact, (...) I think, but we have different notions about the nature of historical discourse and the uses to which historical knowledge can properly be put. (shrink)
Review of: Marinus Dirk Stafleu. Theories at Work: On the Structure and Functioning of Theories in Science, in Particular during the Copernican Revolution. (Christian Studies Today.) 310 pp., bibl., index. Lanham, Md./New York: University Press of America, 1987; Toronto: Institute for Christian Studies, 1987. $28.75 (cloth); $16.50 (paper).
Jonathan Wolff is Professor of Philosophy at University College London. He is the author of Robert Nozick (1991), An Introduction to Political Philosophy (1996) and Why Read Marx Today (2002). He is currently working on a number of topics at the intersection of political philosophy and public policy.
Volume 1 of this biography of L. E. J. Brouwer was published in 1999.1 The volume under review here covers the period from the early nineteen twenties until Brouwer's death in 1966. It also includes a short epilogue that discusses the disposition of Brouwer's estate after his death, his influence on others, the paths of some of his students and colleagues, and other matters. Van Dalen notes in the Preface that in preparing this volume he consulted some historical studies that (...) appeared after the first volume was published. He also used new material from various archives. The biography contains interesting quotations from unpublished materials in the Brouwer Archive and from correspondence. The bibliographical references to Brouwer's publications, it should be noted, are somewhat different in this volume. This volume, like the first, contains some nice photographs and reproductions. I noted that there were many typographical errors in the earlier book but Volume 2 is relatively free of them.As is the case in Volume 1, the discussion of Brouwer's mathematical and philosophical work is woven into the narrative of Brouwer's life and times. The story in this volume starts with Brouwer's first contacts with Paul Alexandrov and Paul Urysohn in 1923. The interaction began when Urysohn announced that he had found a mistake in Brouwer's definition of dimension in Brouwer's 1913 paper on natural dimension. Was it just a slip of the pen, as Brouwer always maintained, or something more substantial? Urysohn and Alexandrov ultimately came to agree with Brouwer on the matter, and Urysohn was prepared to grant Brouwer priority for the definition of dimension. There were, however, ups and downs along the way. Karl Menger, through his own work in topology and dimension theory, soon got into the picture, and Brouwer and Menger were to …. (shrink)
In my response to Dirk Greimann I maintain that whereas one can recognize some specific appeals to “parsimony” or “simplicity” in the sciences and in philosophy as correct and legitimate, there is no precise adequate formulation of Ockham’s razor as a general methodological principle, and argue that the formulations he examines in his paper exemplify this imprecision.Em minha réplica à Dirk Greimann mantenho que mesmo sendo possível reconhecer certos apelos à “parcimônia” e à “simplicidade” nas ciências e na (...) filosofia como corretos e legítimos, não há uma formulação precisa e adequada da navalha de Occam como princípio metodológico geral, e argumento que as formulações examinadas em seu artigo exemplificam esta imprecisão. (shrink)
In §1 I discuss the pragmatic and semantic objections that Dirk raises against the claim that sentences refer to states of affairs. In §2 I explain in which sense I maintain that true sentences identify states of affairs.
To what end should or do we pursue philosophy and how? Meta-philosophical questions along these lines have gained more and more interest recently. The collected volume "Erkenntnistheorie — Wie und wozu?" (Engl.: "Epistemology — How and to what end?") aspires to raise and tackle issues addressing the meta-epistemological questions "How is epistemology practiced and to what end?". Although this aim sounds like a descriptive meta-epistemological endeavor, it is not surprising that many authors rather argue for normative claims surrounding the questions (...) "How and to what end should epistemology be pursued?". This review provides an overview on the collected volume and offers a critical evaluation of its overall achievement. (shrink)
The following article by Grete Hermann arguably occupies an important place in the history of the philosophical interpretation of of quantum mechanics. The purpose of Hermann's writing on natural philosophy is to examine the revision of the law of causality which quantum mechanics seems to require at a fundamental level of theoretical description in physics. It is Hermann's declared intention to show that quantum mechanics does not disprove the concept of causality, "yet has clarified [it] and has removed from it (...) other principles which are not necessarily connected to it." She attempts to show that this most "obvious" counter-example to the aprioricity of causality, quantum theory, is in fact not a counter-example at all. (shrink)